Yesterday my friend Mai and I had a great day at the Be:Fit London, classes, talks and that all-important bit of shopping that makes women’s fitness so much more exciting: new workout outfits make us exercise more so we can enjoy those bright funky colours, and regular exercise justifies shopping for gym gear. Win-win, heh? 😉
Anyway, three things stood out for me:
- Women’s fitness is a really big thing now. Especially popular are the group classes – it’s that feeling of camaraderie, we are all in it together 🙂 Most of the classes were great fun and well-taught, gathering big queues. It was so lovely to see women of all shapes and sizes keen to improve their health, vitality and confidence!
- Vast majority of the food stalls were selling all sorts of “healthy” chocolate bars, smoothies, pre/post-workout shakes, and ice-creams. Not nuts, or whole grains, or fresh veg delivered to your door… #FoodForThought
- Despite all of the talk about the benefits of weight-training, especially for women, there was ZERO representation of it. No classes, no talks, no stalls.
Had a quick chat with a sales lady at the Reebok stall regarding the great Crossfit shoes they sell that would work well for training with weights but marketed purely as Crossfit. She summed up really well the misconceptions women have regarding bulking up, including the nutrition side, testosterone levels and the afterburn effect. I actually thought this lady was a PT! And the next thing she said was that she trains with small weights but high amount of reps as she does not want to bulk up because of her acting career. Which was the opposite of her initial explanation! Uh-oh. So if you’re reading this, Reebok sales lady, I recommend you read till the end…
If you want to see what heavy weight training can do for your physique, check out Jill Coleman in this video.
So just to recap on a few things:
- Training with heavy weights helps to burn more fat because by challenging your muscles you create oxygen debt, which revs up your metabolism and your body needs more energy to rebuild and get ready for the next challenge. Same principle as High Intensity Interval Training. That’s why alternating weight training and intensive cardio days work especially well for fat loss.
- Heavy weight = effort and concentration in every exercise, build up to 8-10 reps max, 2 times a week.
- What’s your understanding of toned? Slender an willowy or Lara Croft athletic?
- Toned/ripped by default defined muscles. Defined muscles = strong muscles with minimal fat.
- If there’s no muscle, there’s nothing to define, i.e. nothing to tone. Heard of skinny-fat?
- Training with weights, same like sweating buckets at hard cardio, does not mean it’s OK to eat cakes with Prosecco every day. In fact, going extra heavy on anything will delay losing unwanted fat. Yes, you’ll get stronger. But any training demands extra energy. You eat more and energy in vs energy out gets unbalanced and losing fat will take longer. That’s where good nutrition comes in – nutritious, filling foods that work with increased demand of your body without empty calories.
- Muscles burn more calories than fat. The bigger muscles you have the more energy you require to keep those muscles going. Hence the fat burning effect (provided nutrition is good).
One thing to remember always: any exercise is good. Any. Whatever you enjoy. It must be something you enjoy! Gosh, I wish there was another word for exercise. I keep hearing “I hate exercise”… which, of course, is not true! Who does NOT like dancing, does not enjoy playing games outdoors with kids, walks on the beach, swimming? All that is exercise too. Once you lose your fear of exercise the element of “do I have to” vanishes, working out becomes a joy, doing something that can give you results you want becomes easier, see where I’m going? 🙂 #KeepActive